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Hello all,

Hoping that my cruise aboard the Oasis for this November happens. With that in mind, I have already made many cruise planner purchases. I still have some credit left and was wondering what your thoughts are about Chops Grille? First questions is? I see that it is $50.00. Is that per person or couple? For $50.00 per person, that better be one heck of a meal! If you purchase this through the CP, what all is included? I've never done any of the dining packages, therefore, I have no idea what to expect, what places I should avoid (overpriced) and what places I should really try!

Any other information you can provide would be appreciated! Thanks all!

Carlos

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.It is 50 per person.  If they are offering the 3 night specialty I would do that over just 1.  I got ours for 85 per person.

Chops is comparable to Ruth Chris or McComick and Schmidts steak houses.  Just like in the MDR  you can order multiple appetizers, but only 1 entrée per person.  Albeit, sometimes the waitstaff will bring out an additional entrée for the table to share.

We enjoy Chops, I especially enjoy their goat cheese salad as an appetizer.  The steaks are great and the ambiance is nice.  @WAAAYTOOO will tell you that her favorite item on their menu is the Red Velvet cake!

 

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The value of specialty dining is in the eye of the beholder.  The price is what it is because people are paying it.  If they couldn't command that price, it would be lower.  

Specialty dining is nice for the better food but also for the ambiance that comes with the venue which is distinctly different than the MDR.   

I generally cruise without specialty dining added on because I am not a foodie and I find the price high considering I've paid for a dinner in my cruise fare, the added cost is above what I've already paid for the included dinner in the MDR.  That being said if there is a special occasion or if it can be acquired at a discount then I'll enjoy specialty dining.  Excess OBC is another great reason to try specialty dining.

Over numerous cruises I've eaten at Chops on different ships a number of times.  I know the menu well and it hasn't changed significantly over the years.  I've enjoyed Chops the most on Empress where I have consistently received great food and great service.  Sometimes on other ships it's either been good service but meh food quality or meh service with good food quality.  If I'm paying more I expect both to be great.  

On Oasis Chops is located in Central Park.  There are no views to the sea but there is an outdoor section in a glassed in area within Central Park which can be very enjoyable under the right conditions.  

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Hello!

Congrats on your Oasis cruise - it's my favorite Royal ship! 'Worth it' is subjective, but I can tell you that you will never be disappointed in a meal at Chops. The service and food are both excellent, and it's a 'never miss' for me. I also agree with @Pima1988 that the 3-Night Specialty Dining package is the way to go, especially on a ship like Oasis with so many amazing dining options. If you decide to go for the 3-Night, you may also want to check out Giovannis and 150 Central Park. Have a wonderful trip!

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On 7/22/2020 at 7:05 AM, Pima1988 said:

Chops is comparable to Ruth Chris or McComick and Schmidts steak houses. 

 

When i first tried Chops i agreed with this statement and it was definitely a go to ... 10 years later the experience feels much closer to Outback steakhouse for me and just isn' worth it.

With that said one of our travel group is a Chops devotee so when she is along we usually end up going and its never been a bad experience just not what it used to be.

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I would agree with the others that Chops is a better value, in my opinion, when part of the Chops plus one or 3 night dining pkg. I wouldn't say it's Ruth's Chris or Outback. Maybe somewhere in-between. We have always enjoyed it, but have never really been blown away by it. Chops will continue to be part of our cruises, as much for the atmosphere as the food. The quiet and somewhat intimate dining room is a nice change of pace for the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ship. 

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I have been to Chops on these ships with rankings next to each:

Enchantment -- #2

Brilliance -- #3

Allure --#5

Symphony -- #4

Empress -- #1

The common thread I see is that smaller ships seem to have been better in my experience. This isn't to say that it wasn't worth it on the Oasis class ships, it definitely was, but I had dining packages on those sailings. One way to get a really good value is to book lunch. The cost is about half.

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Giovanni's has menu diversity so more tastes can be accommodated.  

Chops is pretty much is a steakhouse featuring mostly red meat with one or two non-meat seafood options.  If everyone is your party loves a juicy steak you're good but if someone isn't a red meat lover then someone is paying a lot for meal they may not like.  

Typical Chops menu:

oa_menus-5.jpg

oa_menus-6.jpg

Oasis class Giovanni's:

oa_menus-11.jpg

oa_menus-12.jpg

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If you’re just looking for a better steak than is available in the MDR you can order the Chops Filet from the MDR menu for $16. 
But agree the atmosphere in Chops or Giovannis is a nice step up.  We had dinner in the Solarium  Bistro a few years back in Oasis when it was an up charge.  It’s free now and was really a nice date night atmosphere.  

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@CJS2766  I would say that if you come from an Italian family, especially one from the NY/NJ area, Giovannis maybe a bit of a let down. We live in VA, but originally from NJ. We have gone there several times on different ships, it was always, eh! However, we place it on the fact, to us, we have a high bar for them to reach due to our background. Last yr we traveled with my husbands family (NY/NJ Italians), originally we had 1 night in Chops, 2 nights at Giovannis.   We went to Chops the 1st night and Giovannis the next.  As soon as we were done with the meal at Giovannis, we went to Chops and had them cancel our 2nd reservation for Giovannis and reserve a 2nd night at Chops.

We actually prefer the carpaccio at Chops over Giovannis.  I have had the branzino at both.  No, I am not crazy eating fish at a steakhouse, I just get tired of having heavy meals and always find the branzino good.  Again, I preferred the Chops over Giovannis, not that Giovannis was bad, just that Chops always seems to be better.  At Chops our wait staff has always brought out to our table the spicy shrimp (entrée) for us to share without us ever asking.

My husband was not impressed with the gnocchi.  We had gnocchi one day for lunch in the MDR and it was amazing, thus he figured since it was a specialty restaurant it would be much better.  WRONG.  In the MDR it was light and airy, theirs were mushy and heavy.  The waiter noticed that he was not pleased.  He came back and offered him a 2nd entrée of his choice. He did the carbonara.  He enjoyed it, but it was still not OMG I can't stop eating although my stomach is full.

I will say the grilled octopus at Giovannis is amazing.

When it comes to ambiance I do prefer Giovannis, mainly due to the fact that Chops is that old style steakhouse design, dimly lit and dark wood/colors.  It is hard not to feel like you need to go to sleep after eating such a heavy meal.

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I agree with @FManke.  We enjoy them, but I would not place them at a 5 star level.  I would not place them as low as Out Back or Olive Garden either.

However, that being said we do specialty restaurants because we enjoy the ambiance at each one and the unique items offered.    IE I am the biggest fan of the goat cheese salad which you will never find in the MDR, you can't request it, but you can request the wedge salad.  Same is true for the grilled octopus...ain't happening.  Heck, the MDR will offer beef carpaccio as a specialty on their MDR menu, but impo it is not as good as the specialties.  FWIW I still love the MDR on the night they offer the lamb shank.  Their prime rib is pretty good too, but it can be a hit or miss.

I think that the specialties will become even more popular once we get back to sailing.  My reason behind this is that a big selling point for the specialties is you don't feel as cramped compared to the MDR.  AKA social distancing.  

That being stated, I have also seen in the past 2 yrs or so that the MDR is less crowded, so it could be once we get back to sailing it will be 50-50. 

We do traditional late seating (8 pm) Reason why is that these specialties have become very popular.  1 cruise we did on Anthem with my family we only did late dining. We were a party of 10.  The waitstaff had only us in the MDR.  They were absolutely, positively the best service I ever experienced including 5 star restaurants.  They had other tables, but how it works for traditional is that is your table for MDR, if you pay for specialty, that is still your table even if you don't show.  Thus, tables around us were empty since those people purchased the specialty.  On that cruise we never did specialty. The staff knew we would be entering and by night 2 they had our drinks down in their memory...they always asked 1st if we would like that drink again.  My cousin only eats fish due to a medical condition, they brought out every fish appetizer for him.  They discussed that night would he would like off the menu.  My body does not appear it, but I eat very little.  They thought I did not enjoy the food, they kept bringing out more.  It got to a point that my husband had to say, she doesn't eat a lot, all you are now doing is making me spend more time in the gym to burn off the calories she is forcing me to eat not to offend you!

Did the late seating on Adventure with a group of 5 for an 8 night cruise.  We had 5 specialty nights ( 3 nights purchased, TA gifted 1 night and 1 Chef's table).  Same deal as Anthem.  1st night was chaotic, but thetip 3 nights our staff only had us and 1 table. 

I think they were so bored that to keep them busy they just kept bringing out food.  The lobster aka formal night they brought out every single dessert on the menu.  Didn't even ask what we would like.  We were moving plates to find room on the table.  Let's be honest, they also work for an additional tip, hence why they are now working 2x as hard.

FYI, those MDR waiters also work in the WJ or the MDR for lunch too.  They have long work days.

 

 

 

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I think Chops is pretty good, but it's not at that high-end Ruth's/Morton's/Hy's level.

Not sure what the equivalent is in the US but in Canada we've got a mid-level steakhouse chain called The Keg, and I feel like Chops sits right around that level. Essentially you're gonna get a very good steak, but will it be the best steak you've ever had? Probably not.

In terms of value, I don't see it as being worth the extra whatever for a one-off splurge. As part of the unlimited dining package? Now you're talking.

In terms of Chops vs. Giovanni's, I'd probably go with Giovanni's. But I'd definitely choose Chops over Jamie's (and not just because we still have a couple of Jamie's in Toronto)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/22/2020 at 6:18 AM, CJS2766 said:

Hello all,

Hoping that my cruise aboard the Oasis for this November happens. With that in mind, I have already made many cruise planner purchases. I still have some credit left and was wondering what your thoughts are about Chops Grille? First questions is? I see that it is $50.00. Is that per person or couple? For $50.00 per person, that better be one heck of a meal! If you purchase this through the CP, what all is included? I've never done any of the dining packages, therefore, I have no idea what to expect, what places I should avoid (overpriced) and what places I should really try!

Any other information you can provide would be appreciated! Thanks all!

Carlos

Did you lift & shift yet to 2021? Losing hope for 2020 at this point.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/24/2020 at 8:50 AM, jticarruthers said:

When i first tried Chops i agreed with this statement and it was definitely a go to ... 10 years later the experience feels much closer to Outback steakhouse for me and just isn' worth it.

With that said one of our travel group is a Chops devotee so when she is along we usually end up going and its never been a bad experience just not what it used to be.

I completely agree.  We loved it 10 - 12 years ago. We ate in Chops last Nov on Harmony.  It was overcrowded, tables very close together, our waitress had too many tables, service not that good, and the steak was very lacking in flavor.  Less quality than Outback in my opinion.  And at $50 plus 18%, extremely overpriced. 

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I actually feel that just like any "chain" steak house like Mc Cormick and Schmidts or Capital Grille, it can vary by location and design of the interior.  

I feel that on the smaller ships it always seems better service and quality.  We felt the food was phenomenal on Adventure, along with the service.  I have seen many posters also say the same when they go on a smaller ship like Lady G, however, when they go to an Oasis or Quantum class it loses that edge.

4 hours ago, Scooter6251 said:

And at $50 plus 18%, extremely overpriced

I would agree that at 50 it is too high, but if you do the 3 night, you can usually pick it up for as low as 79 or up to 90.  Right now you could get on my sailing unlimited for 8 nights for 179 pp.  When you even break it down to the 3 night the 30 pp + 18% = 35 bucks pp it is well worth it as a meal.  However, I am a huge fan of 3 items on Chops menu that you will not get in the MDR. Item 1.  Goat cheese salad.  Item 2. Branzino (crazy to order fish, but I do)  Item 3. Red Velvet cake.  OBTW I love the bleu cheese wedge salad, but I have learned on night 1 in the MDR tell the staff you want it tomorrow night and they will bring it to you in the MDR even if it is not on the menu.

I am not an anti MDR person.  As I stated earlier with RCL pushing the unlimited dining, I find the MDR less crowded now than prior to the UDP.  We only purchased the 3 night for 79 bucks on our Symphony cruise (5/2021) because we are in a suite and can access Coastal Kitchen.  

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/31/2020 at 9:07 AM, Scooter6251 said:

And at $50 plus 18%, extremely overpriced. 

Eh, I am not sure I can agree with that, nor do I think you could accurately compare the experience to determine if it's "overpriced". I forget how much of your cruise fare goes towards an average dinner in the dining room or buffet, but let's say it's $15...so you're looking at, say, $65 + gratuity. For $65 you're getting as many apps as you'd like, soup/salad, a main course, and dessert, so you would need to factor that in at any other restaurant too. In essence, you're also kind of paying for a vacation destination restaurant, which are usually higher priced. A nice steakhouse in Sanibel, Florida is going to be more than the same steakhouse in Omaha, for example, and in my opinion eating the meal overlooking the moving ocean isn't quite comparable to your average steakhouse (much like having a more expensive gin & tonic on the ship is higher priced than your local strip mall bar). 

Everyone's opinions are their own, of course, and while I have had enjoyable experiences at Chops with better-than-expected steak (no Capital Grille, but better than Outback in my experiences), I can understand why some people don't think it's worth it. But for the reasons I laid out above, I don't personally believe it's overpriced. 

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